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Author Topic: History of Quotes (was re: Arizona Birth Control Bill)  (Read 402 times)

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Offline vtboyTopic starter

History of Quotes (was re: Arizona Birth Control Bill)
« on: March 18, 2012, 01:02:23 PM »
I believe that deserves repeating. I won't post that brilliant but over-quoted "they came for the ___ and I did not speak out" ... er, quote, but I'll be thinking it.

The quotation is generally attributed to Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran minister in Germany before, during and after the Third Reich.

Niemoller, who held Jews responsible for the crucifixion and believed they wielded excessive influence in the Weimar Republic, was an early supporter of the Nazi party and Adolph Hitler. Though he broke with the party shortly after Hitler ascended to Chancellor, his differences with the regime were over its interference with church doctrine and operation, rather than its oppression of Jews, socialists, communists, political critics, modernists, and other "undesirables," or its military aggression. These aspects of Naziism not only little troubled Niemoller's conscience, but elicited his support.

Niemoller's ecclesiastical differences with Hitler landed him in Sachsenhausen in 1938. Even this was not enough to cure Niemoller of his admiration for the Nazis' secular policies, however, as he offered himself for military service when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The offer was rejected, and Niemoller remained in concentration camps for the remainder of the war. At some point in his incarceration, Niemoller had his "come to Jesus moment" after the accretion of his own sufferings and those of Jewish inmates finally persuaded him to change his views.

Well, better late than never, they say.

My own favorite German poem was actually written in English and goes, in part, like this:

Oh, show me the way to the next whisky bar,
Oh, don't ask why; oh, don't ask why.
For if we don't find the next whisky bar,
I tell you we must die, I tell you we must die,
I tell you we must die, I tell you we must die.

-- Bertolt Brecht.